Merry Christmas ... and here's $100

I read this article in the Barber Shop on Saturday, just wanted to share ... Wonderful story.


"Secret Santas spread blessings to folks all over town, from thrift-store shoppers to school employees."

The last thing Alana McClendon expected to find when she opened her door Friday morning was a bunch of well-meaning strangers handing her money.

So when the businessmen and women who go around the city each year playing "Secret Santa" pressed a crisp $100 bill into her palm and wished her a Merry Christmas, she hardly knew how to respond.

"It is such a blessing," she said, beaming at them. "Such a blessing."

Similar scenes unfolded wherever the Santas went Friday. The participants, who insist on anonymity, take thousands of dollars from their own bank accounts and give bills to strangers around the city.

Their inspiration is the late Larry Stewart, a Kansas City, Mo., businessman who handed out $100 bills each holiday season. People in other cities now do it, too, hoping to spread the Christmas spirit and inspire everyone to random acts of kindness.

"It's about the pure joy you're able to give people," one Charlotte businessman said.

This year, the fourth time they've done this in Charlotte, the Santas were accompanied by about a half-dozen volunteers from the Charlotte police and fire departments. Even Police Chief Rodney Monroe tagged along.

Armed with newspaper clippings about needy people, they crisscrossed the city, shepherded by police cruisers and motorcycles. Sometimes, the police officers told them about good-hearted people they could help. They appeared on McClendon's doorstep, for instance, when Monroe asked them to stop by the YWCA's transitional housing complex for homeless families.

But they also reveled in chance encounters with needy people. They'd stop driving and hop out of their van when they spotted an elderly woman walking slowly along, or a disabled man walking with a cane.

At the Goodwill Outlet store on Freedom Drive, they found Felicia Adams putting out items for customers. She'd gone to work heavy-hearted because doctors in New York said her cancer-stricken father was dying.

She needed to get up there fast, but she had no money for travel.

When the Secret Santas gave her a $100 bill, she figured she might get to see her father after all. She broke down, sobbing so hard her words came out a hoarse whisper. "I am so happy."

As the convoy passed the Brookhill Village apartment complex in south Charlotte, the Santas spotted Dynasty Taylor holding his 2-year-old son Elijah's hand.

The Santas made a U-turn and gave Taylor $100.

"He's a good-looking boy," one told him. "Buy something nice for him."

"This is a blessing, man," Taylor said. "I'm shocked."

At Thomasboro Elementary School, the Santas gave bills to hard-working teachers, custodians and secretaries.

"I can't work no more today," one custodian said, laughing as she wiped away tears. "They done messed me up."

At the Community Thrift Store on Freedom Drive, they found foster parent Donna Green searching the racks for bargains. She'd been laid off in October from her job at a day care center.

She, too, broke down crying.

"God bless you," she said, hugging one of the Santas.

They moved through the store, passing out more bills. A cashier burst into tears. An elderly woman who said she had no heat hugged another who said she was on the verge of losing her house.

Green moved past them, heading for the door. She was too emotional to continue shopping.

"God is so good," she said. "He sends people in your path to bless you."



Money-Vault-128Paper-Money-128 It would be unbelievable for someone, anyone to tell me that they’ve never heard  “The Approach” … “Hey, do you have any spare change?” usually followed up with a long story about how or why they are requesting a hand out.

Just show me the baby, I don’t need the labor pains

Labor Pains

I work in uptown Charlotte, live in East Charlotte and  I’ve been exposed to every part of this city through one medium or another; bars & night clubs, restaurants, hotels, shopping, volunteering, entertainment & events. “No matter how hard you try you can’t stop us now” should be the motto ‘cause it doesn’t matter where you live or where you’re from, it’s truly where you’re at … no one is prone from “The approach”

::True story::

Over the course of a few days, time spent conversating conversing with “she” after work I happened to be in different parts of the city where “she” witnessed first hand the approach …

Uptown leaving work while talking to “she”

Dude - “Say brother, I’m starving, can you help me out so I can get something to eat?”

Mr.TramueL – “I’m sorry, I don’t have any cash.”

Dude – “What about that water?”

Mr.TramueL – Blank Stare. Blink. Blink. “You want my water? You’re welcome to have it, but I’ve opened it.”

Dude – Takes water.

Rivergate {South Charlotte} talking to “she” in line at a drive thru. Keep in mind it’s around 12:30 a.m., windows down, dude approaching. Mr.TramueL is a lover not a fighter, but I’m also a fighter so don’t get any ideas.

Dude – “Yo, I’m trying to catch a bus do you have any extra change?”

Mr.TramueL – Grabs change out of ashtray.

“She” – “Is the city full of homeless people?! Lol! You’re like a bum magnet.”

Mr.TramueL -  “This is all I have, you’re welcome to have it.”

Dude – Counts change. “You don’t have another {Insert whateva’ amount he was short} ?” “It cost {Insert whateva’ amount it cost for CATS}”

Mr.TramueL – Blank Stare. Blink. Blink.

::Side Note::

It’s amazing how much a part of my spirit “she” is. There is not one day that passes without a thought or a reminder of her. That’s all I’ll say about that. The End.

The Baby

I often joke about how I should respond to folk on the street requesting a handout … “Man, I was bout to ask you for a few dollars … I’m trying to pay my child support.” In the five plus years I’ve told that story, not once have I ever done it. I usually without thought reach into my pocket and whatever spare change I have, I give graciously to the requestor. Well, that is until yesterday when I thought let’s have a little fun, dude was hype & I wanted to match his intensity. Judge me.

Dude – “Hey! Which one of these stores you going into?

Mr.TramueL – “What’s up dude! ‘bout to grab a sandwich from Subway.”

Dude – “I’m out here on these streets, been out here for ‘bout five years man, I was in the {insert long ass story about love, job loss, glory years & pain}

Mr.TramueL – About ten minutes later “Dude? show me the baby, I’ont need the labor pains.”

Dude – “Huh?”

Mr.TramueL – Blank Stare. Blink. Blink.

Dude – “Whatever you got to help a brotha’ out would be appreciated.”

Mr.TramueL – While reaching into my pocket to grab the two singles I have … “Man, I was just about to ask you the same!, It’s the end of the month & folk want child support, rent is due & gas prices are ridiculous.” “One hand in the air if you’ont really care”

Dude – Blank Stare. Smirk. Frown.

This exchange was over heard by someone going into Subway & when I get inside another exchange ensues. I’m going to sum it up for you though …  It was thought that I was encouraging dude by giving him the money. It was thought that he would drink his food. Followed by a bunch of scriptures & their interpretation of said scriptures.

:: Blank Stare. Blink. Blink ::

“My old nature vs Experiencing God” = “Arrogant vs Thankful of ALL of His Gifts in Me”

The moral of the story folks …

Live truth instead of professing it, GOD sends no one away except those who are full of themselves.

Harm None,

Mr. ”Spare Change” TramueL